An Oceans Abcdarium created by the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany

Radioactive Waste

Anna Spiridonova

The main causes of radioactive water pollution are global fallout, nuclear weapons testing, releases from nuclear facilities, intentional or accidental disposal of nuclear waste in natural waters, accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear submarine and aircraft accidents, and the mining of radioactive minerals such as uranium. These toxic wastes pose a great and, above all, long-lasting danger to the sea and its flora and fauna, as well as to humans.Following the 2011 Fukushima accident, Japanese authorities conducted biota sampling. Even five years later, some fish from the harbor remained highly contaminated. A net was installed to prevent them from leaving the contaminated area.This monotype series addresses the radioactive radiation and the toxic penetration of all living things in the water. Its color palette is taken from both nuclear waste warning signs and black and yellow barrier tape—all in all, signals of danger. Where yellow and black overlap and create a new color, it represents the process of protracted pollution; toxic substances encounter water and change it fundamentally.

Sources: Livingston, Hugh, Pavel Povinec, “Anthropogenic marine radioactivity”, Ocean & Coastal Management, vol. 43, issues. 8–9, (2000).

Buesseler, Ken et al., “Fukushima Daiichi–Derived Radionuclides in the Ocean: Transport, Fate, and Impacts”, Annual Review of Marine Science, vol. 9, issues. 173-203, (2017).